How to Plan a Podcast in 9 Steps

First things first, this is not a technical how-to create and produce a podcast guide. This is the step you take before that. Yes. I’m saying think about your podcast ahead of time and develop a strategy. AKA this is a training on how to plan a podcast.

How to plan a podcast in 9 steps

How to plan a podcast: from personal experience

I’ve lived these nine steps while creating and launching podcasts so I’m not pulling these out of thin air. Planning a podcast is exhilarating, exciting, and exhausting. At so many points on this journey I said “this is the hardest part, once we’re past this we’re good.” I’m glad I knew the steps or I may have lost heart through the process. I share them with you today so you will also be empowered the next time you wonder if you should start a podcast. You’ll know what the steps are and how to plan a podcast. You’ll also know how much work you have ahead of you so you’re mentally prepared for the roller coaster you’re about to get on. Podcasting is an amazing, amazing media and, when done right, a game changer.

First I’ll overview the steps, then break them down a bit.

How to plan a podcast in nine steps

  • Brainstorm a concept and decide what your show is about
  • Determine your “why”
  • Set goals for your podcast
  • Figure out who you’re serving
  • Plot your content strategy
  • Develop your show and assets
  • Write, record, and produce your first three episodes
  • Develop your marketing strategy
  • Pre-launch baby!

And once your podcast is planned, in the process of being developed, and you’re running pre-launch…now you can finish setting everything up and launch your podcast.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to step one.

How to plan a podcast step one: Brainstorm a concept and decide what your show is about

If you’re thinking about doing a podcast there’s a good chance you’ve thought about this to some extent. So, write it down. What’s the big idea? What’s your show about? I encourage you to get to a core topic, one you stick to throughout your show. A strong topic will make things easier down the road, plus it will be easy for listeners to understand what your show’s about without too much thought. You want your show to stick in listener’s minds and be something they can become fanatic about—sharing on social media, recommending to friends, and becoming raving fans. So come up with a good one, alright?

How to plan a podcast step two: Determine your “why”

Attracting listeners who become raving fans starts with your reason for podcasting. Think about it for a sec, why should anyone listen to your podcast? Why should people choose yours over all the other podcasts out there? Why? It’s so easy to jump past the planning and straight into podcast production but I encourage you to slow down and do the hard work first. Plan a podcast, plan a great podcast.

How to plan a podcast step three: Set goals for your podcast

(Can you believe she’s talking about goal setting AGAIN!?)

Believe it!

But it’s step three, so by this point you already know what you want to do and why—so shouldn’t setting goals be easy? Podcasts are powerful for building an audience and increasing your platform and can even help you reach your business goals. So, what is your goal for this podcast? And if it’s to make money…you’re going to need a plan to do that. Putting up a podcast doesn’t equal cash money. Not that in itself at any rate. So wipe the dollar signs out of your eyes and set some realistic goals. Making money can be one of your goals, but you’re going to need a revenue plan. Think it through, set S.M.A.R.T. goals, and then move on to step four.

How to plan a podcast step four: Figure out who you’re serving

You should kind of sort of know this already. Who do you hope listens to your podcast? Who do you want to become raving fans? I know, you want everyone to love it…but please break it down a little. Who do you want listening and what transformation do you want them to experience as a result of listening to your podcast? How will you help listeners reach their goals? Because, like everything, they need to understand what’s in it for them before they’ll decide to stick around. If you map this desired transformation out, it will also guide you RIGHT into step five. So give it a shot, kay?

How to plan a podcast step five: Plot your content strategy

Now this is fun stuff. If you figured out the transformation you want listeners to experience and brainstormed a step-by-step guide for them to get there…you can break those steps down into individual episodes! Right!? Yes!!! OK maybe I’m nerding out but you want a strategy because this will keep you laser focused on providing the RIGHT content to the RIGHT people for the RIGHT reasons. Strategy is just RIGHT OK!? Here you figure out your core content, your sub topics (sidenote, this is similar/the same as creating a content strategy for your blog), your show format, and individual show objectives (goals within goals—you know the big goal of the entire podcast but what do you want listeners to do in each one? Leave a review, go to your website, download an email opt-in, share on social media, follow you on Instagram, etc. And please pick one per episode). If you’re stuck for ideas you can do keyword research (see what’s popular and develop episode ideas from there). Try and come up with at least 10 solid episode topics before moving on.

How to plan a podcast step six: Develop your show and assets

By this point you should be getting pretty excited about your show. And step six is where all your dreaming turns into your core content and branding. And yes, this will be hard work and may involve blood, sweat, and tears (if you’re anything like me). You don’t have to script your episodes word-for-word (unless you work best like that/want to)—outlines and notes are fine—but you do need to work out your show sequence and figure out who you want on your show if you’re taking guests/doing interviews. At this point you should also be working on things like finalizing your show name, designing your logo, figuring out website design, deciding on your branding, grabbing all your social media handles, and purchasing your URL. I know many people will do this first and other guides may even advise doing this second/third. Why I’m saying wait till step six is because by this point you KNOW you’re sticking with it. You have a firm grasp on where you’re going and how you’re getting there. And if you’re hiring someone to help with any of your asset development, showing him/her your target audience, listener transformation, and content strategy will help him/her come up a great concept reflecting you to a T.

How to plan a podcast step seven: Write, record, and produce your first three episodes

OK, I won’t sugar coat it. This is going to be a lot of work. But you are READY for this! Draft your episodes, record them, and get them ready. You’re not publishing anything yet, but you’re working out the bugs. You need to figure out what you’re saying, practice saying it, and get all the technological pieces in order. Going through this will also highlight how much help you need recording, editing, producing, etc. (If you need technical help check out Pat Flynn’s How to Start a Podcast tutorial or Kirsten Oliphant’s Should You Start a Podcast course. If you need an audio editor or show producer, my rates are here.) This process should show you how close you are to launching your podcast. You may need more time than you thought at the outset, but that’s OK. You’re in it for the long haul, so it’s worth doing right.

How to plan a podcast step eight: Develop your marketing strategy

You have your content plan, your branding, website, and social channels are taking shape, and you have a general idea of when you can launch. Now it’s time to think about marketing. You’re going to need a pre-launch, a launch, and an ongoing strategy. Three strategies. I know it’s a lot of work (ugh, Robyn, why is EVERYTHING so much work!?) but you will be so super glad you made the plan ahead of time when you’re in the thick of it. I have a few general tips on how to rock your marketing, which are a good place to start if you’re new to marketing strategy. If you want an intense, 90-day pre-launch strategy that will blow your mind, check out this podcast episode from Amy Porterfield. Whatever you decide, I recommend getting the plan on paper and calendaring as much as possible. This is where you figure out the details of your pre-launch, launch, and ongoing marketing, when your podcast episodes will publish and how often, what you’re posting on social media and how often, and how you’re going to promote your podcast to the world.

How to plan a podcast step nine: Pre-launch baby!

When you have your launch date settled and all your marketing ducks in a row, you can graduate to pre-launch. This is going to be intense, but this step is critical to a successful launch so you don’t want to skip it. In step eight you created the plan and in step nine you WORK the plan. That’s right, you’re creating content, you’re connecting with your target audience, and you’re ramping up to your launch. In pre-launch you’re putting yourself and your podcast out into the world in a way that people notice. You do this by creating amazing and shareable content, promoting your amazing and shareable content to your existing audience, with your social networks, with online communities, with relevant influencers, and wherever else your target audience hangs out.

Whew.

I know we’ve been through a lot getting to this point. But it’s not over yet. Once your pre-launch gets in gear you are racing towards your launch day—now that’s exciting stuff. Good thing you know what you’re doing, where you’re going, and who you’re talking to. I can’t WAIT to hear how it goes. Have a great launch!

First things first, this is not a technical how-to create and produce a podcast guide. This is the step you take <em>before</em> that. Yes. I'm saying think about your podcast ahead of time and develop a strategy. AKA this is a training on how to plan a podcast.

Five Podcasts I Love

Looking for a new podcast? Here are five I'm loving right now and a bit about why.

I love podcasts. LOVE podcasts. I’ve loved them since the moment I heard about them (whenever that was) and have dreamed about having my own podcast for years now. I even built a business plan around a knitting-themed podcast but it never launched (still have all my notes though…).

Why are podcasts so great? Well I think it has something to do with the medium. Because I think radio is pretty great too. Listening to a person speak connects you in a way the written word doesn’t, and that’s saying something since writing is my passion. But podcasting? I love podcasts. I like them all: conversations, interviews, monologues, stories, poetry, scripted, silly, and everything in between. I listen to them while I’m working (if I’m doing a brainless task), while I’m driving, at the gym, while I’m walking, when I’m weeding/watering the garden, and whenever I’m by myself. I will listen with my husband while we’re on road trips, but he’s not so open to any and every podcast as I am so our playlist is a bit smaller.

I often am asked what podcasts I recommend so I thought today I’d share my top five of the moment. I’m always listening to more than five but these are five I recommend over and over.

The Fizzle Show Podcast

Podcasts I love, #1: The Fizzle Show

With this podcast, I have an on-again, wow-I’m-sick-of-them relationship but I have listened since the beginning and am still subscribing, so they must be doing something right! Each week the team at Fizzle uploads a new episode aimed at small business owners who want to earn a living doing something they care about. They focus on modern business essentials, self employment, marketing, productivity, work-life balance, and more. Everything in their podcast points back to their small business training courses, which I have subscribed to for the past two years and have found amazing. I trust this team to give me the tools I need to run my business.

Copyblogger FM Podcast

Podcasts I love, #2: Copyblogger FM

I love everything Copyblogger does and when they started podcasting I subscribed to every show. Well, there were a lot of shows and after a while I dropped most of them (or they got dropped…I’m not 100 per cent certain what’s going on TBH) and circled in on my favourite: Copyblogger FM. This is a short-form broadcast with solo shows and interviews focusing on content marketing, copy writing, email marketing, conversion, optimization, and more. They offer a few courses and products but I haven’t taken part (yet). But I do love their advice and would recommend their podcast and blog to anyone interested in improving their online communication.

Myths and Legends Podcast

Podcasts I love, #3: Myths and Legends

This is a new show in my podcast rotation. My husband and I discovered it while on a road trip earlier this year and while I thought it was something we’d listen to when together, I’ve gone ahead and listened to most of the archive plus all the new shows on my own. So I guess I like it. This is a solo podcast telling stories from myths, legends, and folklore from around the world. Some of the stories I’ve heard before, but I don’t think they ever get old. And yes, there are wizards, knights, and dragons—oh my!

Most of the podcasts in my rotation I’ve chosen because I think they can help me move the needle forward on my professional life. This one? Yeah, it’s pure entertainment. Of course there are valuable tips on how to creatively tell stories and create engagement, so I can still say I’m learning something! There seems to be an entire sub-culture around this podcast but I haven’t checked any of it out. So I guess I’m not there yet.

Online Marketing Made Easy

Podcasts I love, #4: Online Marketing Made Easy

I think I have also listened to this podcast since the beginning. This (usually) solo podcast is a smart, in-depth look at online business. It focuses on all sorts of topics like marketing strategy, email list growth, Facebook ads, and more. I trust what I hear in this show to be a few steps ahead of me and teach me what’s going on in the ever-changing world of digital marketing just before I need to know it. I can’t say enough good things—this one has always been on my playlist and I continue finding great value from it. This podcast also points back to various courses you can purchase. I haven’t tried any out but they sound pretty good.

Under the Influence Podcast

Podcasts I love, #5: Under the Influence

Before Under the Influence there was the show’s precursor, The Age of Persuasion. This show also airs on public radio in Canada and the US and I’ve loved everything about it for as long as I’ve known about it. This solo show is as scripted as it gets and while it takes a little getting used to, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Under the Influence is a behind-the-scenes look at the advertising industry and filled with fascinating case studies from the past and present, showing how marketing and human nature intersect. I think it’s so amazing the moment I learned the host was coming to speak at a local event I dropped everything to go. I booked off work, hustled my way into a ticket, walked 18 blocks in the rain, and showed up 30 minutes early to get the best seat. Yeah. Big fan.


And those are my top five podcast recommendations for you! I hope you can find something new and interesting to listen to—something that inspires you to take action on whatever you’re holding back on right now. Oh, and I’m always taking new podcast recommendations too so if there’s one I need to check out please let me know!

You have something to say…but you don’t know where to start.  You’ve got a story to tell…but you’re struggling to find someone to listen.  You’re passionate about spreading the word…but you’re overwhelmed and don’t know who to trust.  You’ve got your business up and running…but you need clients.  My mission is helping you reach your goals, no matter what your “but” is.

Interrobang!?

I always knew it wasn’t proper punctuation to use both a question mark and an exclamation mark when writing out a shocked question.

However, I use it frequently. Because I love to. I don’t know why, it’s just one of those things.

Why this has anything to do with anything is because I learned there is actually a punctuational (?) equivalent to the old “!?” or “?!” expression (actually not old, pretty new). It’s called “interrobang.”

And yes, Grammar Girl did teach me this.

I enjoy listening to podcasts when I drive alone and right now I’m back on a Grammar Girl kick. Before this was Stuff You Should Know (does that kick ever really go away?) and before that I was listening to Under the Influence and Internet Marketing for Smart People.

Anyway, so the podcast was from about a year ago and was about punctuating questions. I didn’t really care for the podcast but I listened anyway and boy am I glad I did. At the very end she added the whole interrobang thing as an aside as she was wrapping up. I was so intrigued I looked up the episode when I got home so I could learn the html codes and use them ALWAYS on the blog‽

Neat, hey‽

Here they are for your coding pleasure.

Interrobang Codes

  • ‽  Unicode decimal value
  • ‽  Unicode hexidecimal value

Wikipedia says this word can also be spelled (and I guess pronounced) “interabang.” Both of which are not in my computer dictionary.

Of course this is a nonstandard punctuation mark, which also means it’s not to be used outside informal writing.

Also in my surfing (just kidding…no one surfs anymore) I also stumbled upon another interesting and extremely awesome nonstandard punctuation mark—the irony mark. No joke.

Apparently in the 19th century this was proposed as the next level of communication so people would understand when someone was being ironic or sarcastic. Now wouldn’t that have been useful to learn in an email etiquette course‽

Unfortunately I can’t get it to work but it’s a backwards question mark. Now, isn’t that ironic? (except backwards)

O’Reilly’s Top Five Brands

Recently I subscribed to the CBC podcast The Age of Persuasion. It’s about marketing and advertising and I’m really learning a lot actually. And I guess all of Canada likes this podcast since it’s #2 right now in the Canadian iTunes store.

Anyway, so since I don’t listen weekly or however often this podcast is released I just listen to past episodes at random. And one that’s sticking with me is titled Even More Remarkable Brands.

This is a great episode because it highlights five fascinating brands, which have overcome over saturated odds and somehow stuck in our minds. Seriously! Give it a listen, you’ll be surprised.

I figured I would’ve heard of some of the brands but maybe not all of them. And wouldn’t you know it, they were all on my radar. Crazy. I didn’t think I was a “brand person” but these… well the definition of “brand” is stretched beyond what I would’ve thought. Originally.

Now my mind is blown. And, yeah. I don’t think there’s much else to say. Top Five Remarkable Brands. There we go.

Moose Meese? Meeser Meeses? Mooser Moose?

Moose or meese?

Moose or meese?

>Now we have come to the end of The Canadian Moose and I thought we could talk a little bit about grammar. Don’t stop reading!

The #1 comment I’ve heard over this month of mooseness is “Why isn’t the plural of moose meese?” So after showing much restraint, I have patiently waited until the last day to indulge my little grammar fetish and answer le question.

Unfortunately, it’s not very interesting. But I’ll do my best. Don’t stop reading!

The roots of the word “moose” (as we learned at the beginning of the month) are from a native word meaning “twig eater.” As well, earlier this month, we learned moose in Europe are called “elk.” Why this is of any consequences, is apparently because the original language moose comes from doesn’t do plurals.

But that’s stupid. No amount of Googling could find any research behind this answer and other people in Internet-land have just copied and pasted this same, probably incorrect, answer instead of doing the work themselves.

So I went away from the Internet (bye bye) and towards my new favourite podcaster: Grammar Girl.

Of course she had something to say. Actually she has a lot to say and it gets a bit convoluted. In order to cover what she does, I suppose I have to go over all the other weird animal plurals out there (ox-oxen, goose-geese, sheep-sheep, mouse-mice) and find explanation/roots for them but I wouldn’t want to label myself some sort of grammar nerd…

So instead let’s just say the word “moose” in English falls into the category of a collective noun, so it is the same singular and plural. The reason, if you care, is because we’ve brought some of the Ye Olde English rules with us from the motherland and they don’t make a ton of sense, but it’s something we just go with.

But mostly we say moose when we mean one or many because it’s comfortable. It wouldn’t feel right to say “meese” and we’d probably get all twitchy and start resenting moose and stuff.

In the end, if you can’t accept the moose-moose phenomenon, you can just call them by their group name—herd.

You know, like that time I saw a herd of moose and it was awesome. Or, did I see a moose? I sure did! A whole herd!

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter since moose don’t like to hang out with each other much so you probably won’t run into this problem unless you live in Smithers.

Which is a moose story I never got to and couldn’t find photos from so you’ll just have to email me about it because…

This now ends the moose portion of the blog. Thank you for your patience.